If William Morris were alive today, he would certainly be busily blogging on all the literary, cultural and political issues that so passionately absorbed him; and in fact his ‘Notes on News’ items in his socialist newspaper Commonweal in the late 1880s do constitute a kind of blog in their own right.
In October 2007 Tony Pinkney launched the world’s first-ever blog on and around William Morris, and this book brings the 139 posts of its first three and a half years from the blogosphere into print. In these brief, entertaining entries, Pinkney explores the full range of Morris’s central concerns: poetry and printing, Icelandic sagas and romance writing, art and architecture, utopia and socialism. But he also ranges into such unlikely topics as drawing pins, insults, Star Trek, Southend Pier and penis size, as well as offering a Morrisian political commentary on national and international events of recent years. A substantial Introduction elicits some of the recurrent themes of Pinkney’s engagement with Morris’s work, and a lively Conclusion floats many new ideas for the future of the William Morris Society.
At the very heart of this ‘blog book’ is Morris’s great utopia, News from Nowhere, and Pinkney offers many striking new approaches to that work, as well as the bold prospect of a twenty-first-century sequel to it. The blog itself continues vigorously and is widening out into new areas: see William Morris Unbound
ISBN 978-0-9567613-0-9, 152pp, paperback £12-95.
Tony Pinkney is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He served as a Green Party councillor on Lancaster City Council from 1999 to 2003. He has published books on T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence and Raymond Williams. More recent work on Morris includes the edited collection, We Met Morris: Interviews with William Morris, 1885-96 (2005), and William Morris in Oxford: The Campaigning Years, 1879-1895 (2007).